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'Leaving Europe means leaving history,' Hollande declares as European election nears

President François Hollande lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier on Thursday
President François Hollande lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier on Thursday Reuters/Alain Jocard

French President François Hollande has hit out at Eurosceptics in a special article published in the prestigious Le Monde newspaper. “Pulling out of Europe means pulling out of history,” he declares.

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Without naming the far-right Front National, which is hoping to do well in this month’s European elections, Hollande writes that the European Union is under threat from those who “speculate on disappointment, play on discouragement by stirring up fear” and seeking scapegoats in foreigners and playing up religious discord.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

And he claims that leaving the euro, as both the FN and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who is linked to Britain’s Eurosceptic Ukip advocate, would be “a trap”, leading to inflation, “implacable austerity” and “national decline”.

Reminding readers that Thursday is the anniversary of the end of World War II, Hollande recalls the words of former president François Mitterrand in his last speech to the European parliament, “Nationalism means war!”

The president invokes the crisis in the Ukraine as evidence of the dangers of nationalism and disunity.

That question will be a major feature of his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Stralsund on the Baltic Sea on Friday and Saturday and a planned three-day visit to the southern Caucasus.

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